Because we are children of a fallen humanity and cannot by our own efforts overcome our sinful nature, the Holy Spirit gives us guidance and direction. Without the Holy Spirit as Teacher, Guide, Friend, Prayer Partner, Gift-Giver, we would engage in all sorts of bad behavior: “works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness. idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-22, NRSV)
“By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” It is by these character traits that the believer reflects Christ to the world. Learning to live these traits is not always easy. No one this side of heaven is capable of always producing the good fruit of these virtues.
Becoming more Christ-like is the goal, but we must not look at it as a way to earn God’s love or favor. These are already ours by grace through faith alone in Christ Jesus. Producing good fruit does not earn us any “extra” points with God. They are a reflection of the new creation we become through the transformative power of God’s love. The baptized die daily to their sinful selves and arise as new creations: “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Father in Heaven, pour out your Holy Spirit into my heart that good fruit may grow abundantly. Let me not give into the temptation to show conceit, jealousy, anger, envy and those things that break your heart and hurt my fellow man. Rather, let me reflect your abounding steadfast love for all people through my actions. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen
God's Peace to you,